Art Industry News: A Thirst Trap Kim Kardashian Posted at the Met Gala Helped Crack the Case of a $4 Million Looted Coffin + Other Stories

Plus, Lili Reynaud-Dewar wins France's most prestigious art prize, and Emily Rauh Pulitzer donates 22 works to the Saint Louis Art Museum.

Kim Kardashian arrives at the 2018 Met Gala on May 7, 2018, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. (Photo by ANGELA WEISS / AFP)

Art Industry News is a daily digest of the most consequential developments coming out of the art world and art market. Here’s what you need to know on this Tuesday, October 19.


Why UCLA’s Deaccessioning of a Picasso Is Wise – The Los Angeles Times critic Christopher Knight praises UCLA’s decision to sell a Picasso that has been languishing in storage since 1961 to establish an acquisition fund for works on paper. (The Picasso is expected to generate $6 million to $8 million.) He contrasts the university’s decision with those of the Met and other museums taking advantage of the Association of Art Museum Directors’s two-year window allowing institutions to sell art to support daily operations. The author says that the aim of deaccessioning “is to refine and elevate the permanent collection… if [a work] gets sold, the income is reserved for future art purchases.” (LA Times)

Italian Police Recover Nazi-Looted Drawings – Two chalk works by the Italian artist Giacomo Cavedone were spotted by the New York Holocaust Claims Processing Office when they were offered for sale at the Italian dealership Old Paintings Online. The works  had been looted by the Nazis from the residence of the Jewish lawyer Arthur Feldmann, who died in prison in 1941. They have been returned to his grandson. (The Art Newspaper)

How Kim Kardashian Helped Crack a Looted Art Case – It turns out that a viral photo Kim Kardashian standing next to a gold coffin at the 2018 Met Gala ultimately led to the conclusion of a long-running criminal case involving the artifact. (What can’t Kim do?) A recent episode of journalist Ben Lewis’ podcast, Art Bust: Scandalous Stories of the Art World, tells the tale of how Kardashian’s snapshot traveled halfway around the world, catching the attention of an informant in the Middle East who was angry that the crew that had unearthed the coffin seven years earlier was never paid. The museum ultimately returned the coffin, which it purchased for $4 million, in 2019, while Kim studied to become a lawyer. (New York Post)

People Are Outraged Over This Maria Callas Statue – A newly erected statue of the American-born Greek soprano Maria Callas has become an object of ridicule since its unveiling at the foot of the Acropolis in Athens last week. Some say the figure bears a greater resemblance to “Gandhi in heels” or an Oscar statuette than the world-famous opera singer. Others took issue with her pose: “Not even a second-grade student at music school, would ever adopt such a pose with crossed arms in front of their chest,” said singer Michael Moussou. The five-foot-nine-inch tall gold statue is situated opposite the Roman theater where the diva first performed. (Guardian)


Lili Reynaud-Dewar Wins Prix Marcel Duchamp – The French installation artist was awarded France’s prestigious art prize, which comes with a €35,000 ($41,000) purse, last night at the Centre Pompidou. The three other nominees were: Julian Charrière, Isabelle Cornaro, and Julien Creuzet. (ARTnews)

Emily Rauh Pulitzer Donates 22 Works to the Saint Louis Art Museum – The patron, publishing heiress, and philanthropist, who also served as the Saint Louis museum’s curator in the ’60s, has pledged 22 major works by artists including Pablo Picasso, Georges Braque, Constantin Brancusi, Joan Miró, and Philip Guston. It is one of the most significant gifts in the museum’s history. (Saint Louis Post-Dispatch)

Jefferson Statue Gets Booted From New York City Hall – City officials voted unanimously to remove a statue of Thomas Jefferson from council chambers, which had stood there for more than 100 years. In recent decades, some council members have called for the statue to be removed in light of Jefferson’s history as a slaveholder. In the unanimous vote, councilmembers did not rule out moving the sculpture to another location in City Hall. (New York Times)

Richard Feigen’s Art Makes $16.1 Million – Sotheby’s sale of 55 works from the collection of the revered late Old Master dealer Richard Feigen realized $16.1 million, within the presale estimate of $11.5 million to $17 million. The sale set a new auction record for the British painter Richard Parkes Bonington, whose painting of a palazzo fetched $7.4 million, well above its $4 million high estimate. (Press release)

Paula Cooper Adds the Estate of Terry Adkins – Paula Cooper Gallery will take on the estate of the multidisciplinary artist Terry Adkins; the artist’s first show at the gallery will be in 2022. The estate will still work with Thomas Dane gallery, but will no longer be represented by Lévy Gorvy (which is soon to become LGDR). (ARTnews)


Kanye West Spotted Hitting Up a Berlin Art Show… in Costume? – The musician was spotted touring a Berlin art exhibition over the weekend, conspicuously disguised in a mask (no, not a regular mask). The pop-up show, called “The Sun Machine Is Going Down,” has been the talk of the town, mostly because it takes place in the iconic 1979 architectural wonder that is the ICC Berlin, one of the world’s largest conference centers, which has been closed to the public since 2014. (BZ)

Follow Artnet News on Facebook:

Want to stay ahead of the art world? Subscribe to our newsletter to get the breaking news, eye-opening interviews, and incisive critical takes that drive the conversation forward.